AAI Unveils and Demonstrates Its STUAS/Tier II Contender: Aerosonde Mark 4.7
AAI Corporation, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. company, announced on 6 July that it has offered the newest in its successful Aerosonde fleet of small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS), the Mark 4.7, as a contender for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps’ joint Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (STUAS)/Tier II program. The expeditionary Mark 4.7 system participated in flight demonstrations on June 23-24 at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.
Developed as a part of AAI’s growing Aerosonde fleet of SUAS, including the Mark 4.4 and Mark 5.0, the Mark 4.7 incorporates unique aircraft, ground control and system features designed with the Navy’s and Marine Corps’ mission requirements in mind. The system’s modest footprint and integrated launch and recovery system enable fast, flexible ground and/or shipboard automated launch and recovery capability, making the Aerosonde Mark 4.7 a truly expeditionary system.
The Mark 4.7 aircraft delivers greater than 10-hour endurance, a low acoustic signature and a small footprint, all of which make it ideal for confined-area land or maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions as well as for communications relay. Its modular payload installation allows the rapid addition of new payloads and capabilities as they become available, enabling technology refresh with little to no aircraft or system modifications. The system also utilizes AAI’s Expeditionary Ground Control Station (EGCS). The EGCS is based on the company’s proven One System command and control architecture to provide interoperability between the Aerosonde Mark 4.7 and other One System platforms, including the Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (TUAS). Users receive digital and analog data from the aircraft’s electro-optic and infrared payloads on compact, ruggedized laptops.
“For decades, AAI has not only designed and manufactured unmanned aircraft systems, but fielded them alongside our customers through skilled, experienced field service and performance based logistics support,” says Vice President of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Steven Reid. “We are confident that our Aerosonde Mark 4.7 system meets the unique Navy and Marine Corps requirements for a small, tactical solution both today and well into the future. We also back our Aerosonde systems with the same robust availability management and life cycle support that has made the Shadow TUAS the U.S. Army’s and Marine Corps’ battlefield workhorse, logging more than 415,000 operational flight hours to date.”
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